CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – With one swing, freshman catcher Cody Roberts ended a no-hitter, stopped a shutout bid and hit his first career home run in a 3-1 loss to Notre Dame on Saturday night.
“It’s a good sign that he hit that changeup out,” said UNC head coach Mike Fox after the game. “It’s in there with him, and that’s good, because once you see it one time, it’s in there.”
Roberts stepped in after Notre Dame jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the sixth inning with starting pitcher Michael Hearne in the midst of a no-hit bid. The Jones Creek, Ga. native drilled a 3-2 offering to deep left field to put the Diamond Heels on the board.
“It was a pretty special moment just to get my first one out there,” said Roberts. "Hitting’s contagious, I was hoping I could spark something for us.”
The homer was a long time coming for Roberts, who feels he’s improved his performance at the plate throughout the season thanks to the tough competition provided by the ACC.
“Every time you get out against those guys definitely helps progression throughout the year,” said Roberts. “I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better at seeing the ball.”
Roberts has established himself as an everyday starter because of his defense, but he’s looking to be more than just a solid hand in the field.
“He’s gonna be a good all-around player because I think he really wants to be,” said Fox. “He doesn’t want to be known as just a defensive catcher with a good arm.”
Despite Roberts’ sixth-inning blast, Carolina desperately needed a lift from its other bats. The other two Tar Heel hits on the day came from infield singles in the 7th, when Tyler Ramirez and Logan Warmoth reached in back-to-back at bats.
“That’s the most disappointing thing is our guys have reverted back to some old ways and you want your players to get better as the season goes on,” said Fox. “We sort of took a step backwards tonight.”
Carolina (32-19, 11-15) will have to wait until Monday to try and salvage the series against the Irish in the home finale at Boshamer Stadium at 7 p.m. on ESPNU.
Photos by Matt Clements